Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don’t forget the newbies among us!

Don’t forget the newbies among us! I attended a genealogy special interest group meeting recently and there were some newbies there. Don’t forget to help them along. They may find that they are related to you and may have the records you are looking for. Most of the experienced researchers were very quick to gloss over the “standard” websites we tend to use and I noticed that the newbies were scrambling to write these down.
For those of you who might also be new:

Some of these sites require a subscription for access to all of the data but even those that do have free areas – so don’t count them out.

One of the nicest things about this latest meeting was that we had no speaker, no computer, and no PowerPoint slide show. What we did have was discussion! I don’t recommend this format for every meeting but it was refreshing to get to hear the stories and research tips from each participant. We were also able to access the experience levels of some of the newest participants to help format future meeting segments.

So – this week’s lesson – go to local genealogy meetings and if there isn’t one – START ONE!

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preview Your Many Files

Hi, Welcome back, thanks for your patience. I've been teaching a lot of new material and preparing four new 2 hour classes each week has taken a lot of my time. Not an excuse but an introduction to today's topic. 

I don't know if this information pertains to Mac computers at all so apologies there. On PC's, though, I've noticed that most students do not know how to preview their file contents without opening the files. We genealogists tend to accumulate lots of great information and we spend time filing it neatly in well-structured digital files. The problems arise when we are not quite certain what a file contains.

Opening each file becomes a tedious exercise. Using the search function won't help when the object of our search is a picture and we are looking for a specific one. The search function does not help, either, if the picture is embedded in a Word processing file. So - I want to share how to use Windows Explorer's file preview button.

Your PC's (Mac's, too) have a tool for managing your files and folders. On a Windows PC it's called "Windows Explorer." There are many ways to open this program. If you have Windows 7 there is an icon on the taskbar that looks like a manila file folder: that's it - just click on it to open Windows Explorer. Windows 7, Vista, and XP users can also RIGHT click on the "Start" button and click on "Open Windows Explorer."

You will then need to navigate to the folder with the files you want to preview. Depending on how you filed, these files will either be in the Documents or Pictures areas.
And then click the "show preview pane" button. Then, when you click on a file, you will see the contents of the file. This does not work for all files but it sure helps.

Happy Hunting!